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Aston Villa Premier League target delivers update on future - report

By Will Butcher

Stewart Downing is to ignore interest from Aston Villa as he concentrates on winning first-team football at Middlesbrough, according to a report.

The Daily Mail claims the 32-year-old is the subject of interest from Steve Bruce’s side and Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace, but wants to remain on Teeside to fight for first-team football.

Sky Sports revealed on their Twitter account earlier this month that Downing would be allowed to leave the Riverside on loan until the end of the season after falling down the pecking order.

However, Boro’s number 19 is now set to remain with his boyhood club despite making just 12 starts this season in all competitions under Spanish manager Aitor Karanka.

Downing, who has also played for Liverpool, enjoyed a two-year spell with in claret and blue between 2009 and 2011 in which he made 76 Villa appearances.

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The Midlands giants could be looking to add width to their side this month, with Albert Adomah recognised as Bruce’s only option on the flanks.

The likes of Ross McCormack, Jack Grealish and Jordan Ayew have been used out wide this term, but are better used in a central position.

Football Insider verdict:

Downing’s decision to stay in the north East will come as bitter blow to manager Bruce, who was keen to sign the 35-time England international after starring in Boro’s promotion from the Championship last season. The left footer pulled the strings in Karanka’s side as they gained promotion by finishing second, having a hand in nine goals during his 49 appearances throughout the 2015-16 campaign. Downing’s experience in gaining promotion to the top flight would have been a major factor in Bruce’s interest, but he is now set to remain with Karanka’s side as they look to avoid relegation back to the Championship.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, Bruce’s pursuit of this £10million-rated wide man has taken a new twist.

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